top of page

How to persuade someone to wear a mask

Updated: Nov 6, 2020

Since, the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, government officials and medical experts have been urging Americans to wear face masks while outside.

However, while many of us have our masks on when we leave our homes, we likely walk past many people who do not.

A new Pew Research study states that 1/3 of Americans do not consistently wear face covers when going outside.

Given everything that’s happened in the country, since the pandemic, is it possible to convince people who don’t want to wear masks to put one on? Well, another new survey, this one from Civis Analytics may have the answer for that.

The organization surveyed 2,000 Illinois residents to understand what would make them more inclined to wear a mask. According to its findings, the participants only positively responded to masks, when they were compared to helmets and seat belts.

92% of respondents who were shown messaging, comparing face masks to helmets and seat belts, said that they were more likely to wear a mask.

Meanwhile, the study found that 89% of participants said that they would keep wearing one.

However, when asked if they would wear a mask due to health concerns, only 85% of respondents said that they would.

“The message that wearing a mask protects other people isn't really getting through for some folks. So we're seeing a lot of rhetoric about how it should be a personal choice to decide to take a risk instead of focusing on how we don't know who's infected and could be spreading the virus to others” says Lindsay Wiley, director of the Health and Law Program at American University in Washington D.C.

Furthermore, when comparing the reactions, from Americans, to past legal safety mandates, such as laws requiring drivers to wear seat belts, and the enforcement of face masks by various states, Wiley says “these public health rules are often seen as paternalistic. Mask mandates are being framed that way as well.”

According to the New York Times, when seat belts were first legally mandated by New York State in 1983, there was a large national debate over the requirement’s ethics. In 1984, a Gallup poll revealed that 65% of Americans thought the law was unconstitutional. However, as the decades went by, the outcry slowly went away, and now seat belts are commonly understood to be a necessary safety protocol. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 85.9% of Americans now wear seat belts, regularly.

As for this writer, our editorial office is in New York City. In mornings, midday, and on the trip home, it appears that nearly 100% of pedestrians here are compliant with mask wearing.

17 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page